On Saturday night in the auditorium of northern Virginia's Woodbridge High School, Mstislav Rostropovich appeared as soloist with the Prince William Symphony Orchestra. The cellist-conductor's performance was his contribution to the orchestra's benefit concert, and a salute, of unprecedented generosity, to the musicianship of Luis Haza, the orchestra's conductor, also a violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra.
After his playing of the Haydn C Major Cello Concerto, the capacity audience gave Rostropovich a prolonged, shouting ovation. He was also presented with a plaque of appreciation from Gov. John Dalton of Virginia and thanked for his contribution to the orchestra by its president, David Lepard, who capably holds down the first chair in the cello section. Rostropovich spoke briefly of the orchestra's quality and of Haza's talent as conductor and prophesied a solid future for music in Prince William County.
Haza opened the program with Beethoven's Egmont Overture, which he led with solidity and fire, winning some exciting playing from the full ensemble in the final pages. He continued with Ravel's "Bolero," a test piece for any orchestra. Though the Prince William players had some problems in tricky solo passages, Haza held firmly to the excellent pattern established at the outset and brought the music to an imposing finale.
Obviously inspired by its soloist's magnificent style and technique, the orchestra, reduced to proper proportions for the Haydn, played with fine style and beautifully balanced dynamics. It was an impressive evening, some of which will be seen and heard at a later date on Channel 53/14.